Want to know which books are the best ever written?
Which ones you should absolutely make an effort to read at all costs before you die?
Out of the kindness of my heart, I have made a Top Ten for you!
10. The Hobbit
Honestly, if J. R. R. Tolkien had not gone on to write The Lord of the Rings, I don’t know that I would have included this on my list.
But he did.
So let’s not depress ourselves with thoughts of a world without Frodo, alright?
My point is, I’m not sure if I added this to list solely because I love The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit is its adorable prelude, or because it can stand on its own.
Personally, I think it can.
Yes, it’s simplistic. Childish, even.
After all, Tolkien wrote it for children.
But as some of you know, I am an advocate of teenagers and adults reading children’s literature. There are so many gems we would miss out on if we obeyed the dictates of labels like “YA” and “adult” and “children’s lit.”
I say read kid’s books. There’s almost always something in there for you.
The Hobbit is no exception.
Not only is it fun and lighthearted, but it is truly beautiful in its simplicity.
9. Go Set A Watchman
Yes, this made it on the list.
Even though I wrote an entire post on why I hated it after reading it the first time.
But, ultimately, I love Scout – or Jean Louise. I love Atticus. I love Jem. And Uncle Jack. I love Maycomb County. I love Harper Lee’s blunt prose and dry wit and looking at the world through her unique – almost cynical – lens.
8. Gone With The Wind
I feel almost embarrassed, putting this here. Like maybe it doesn’t quite belong?
For one thing, it’s a well-known romance. Not normally my thing.
For another, it’s huge. Like The Lord of the Rings huge. Like Les Miserables huge. They paid those guys per-word, right? No wonder they’re a thousand-plus pages long.
Not to mention dense and, at times, quite boring. Gone With The Wind, that is. Be not offended, lovers of Lord of the Rings and Les Mis!
But it rocked my world. And for a book to do that, there has to be something special about it.
7. The Hunger Games Trilogy
I know, I know. This is a bit of a copout. I’m sorry.
I just… can’t separate these three books.
I love them as a whole.
The Hunger Games I loved by itself.
Catching Fire? Eh, notsomuch.
Mockingjay is… well, Mockingjay is a different matter altogether.
But all three? Together?
6. Little Women
What a beautiful picture of family, of childhood, of home, of friendship, of sisterhood, of love.
I come from a large family myself, so I can relate, on so many levels.
According to modern readers, Little Women breaks a great many rules. Like the one about infodumping. Remember that one?
They would probably say that it has no cohesive plot, that there is nothing holding the story together, and that it has no point. That Alcott rambles.
That might be true.
But I reject these criticisms.
This story is true, if nothing else. Alcott has captured the heart of a family in a way that I believe no one else ever has.
And if you can’t appreciate that, you’re not a critic worth having.
This heartwarmingly simple story rings true. And that is enough.
5. North To Freedom
More popularly known by the name I Am David, I saw the movie by the same name long before I knew that it was based on a book at all.
The movie is well crafted – and it features Jim Caviezel before he ceased to have some spark of life in him. So that’s certainly a win for everyone.
But I still maintain that a movie can never quite capture the essence of the book it is based upon.
And that’s okay. Books and movies that tell the same story can be appreciated as separate stories – and appreciated better than if we constantly compare the two.
However, I would hate to see anyone miss out on the amazing story that is the book, simply because they have watched the movie and so think that they have seen everything there is to see.
The book offers so much more.
4. Julie of the Wolves
Oddly enough, this is the only Jean Craighead George book that I like.
I read this book as a young girl – which, honestly, doesn’t mean that I recommend doing that; I read a great many books at a young age that little girls should not be reading – and have since read it over and over again as a teenager.
The raw beauty of this book is so gripping. Every emotion is a color, and the metaphors are breathtaking.
The way Miyax lives in harmony with nature is simply beautiful.
Can I be adopted by a wolf pack, please?
3. To Kill A Mockingbird
To Kill A Mockingbird, sadly, was not a book that I had the pleasure to grow up with.
I was vaguely aware that a book by such a title existed, but my knowledge did not extend much further than that.
Imagine my surprise and pleasure at meeting this amazing piece of literature.
Actually, I thought the first chapter was boring and predicted hating the entire book.
Excuse while I go laugh maniacally at myself for a few moments.
Honestly, I don’t have sufficient words to accurately describe my feelings about this book.
It’s a classic for a reason, folks!
2. The Lord of the Rings
I think we can all agree that J. R. R. Tolkien was nothing short of a genius.
We may or may not be able to agree on whether he was not the most boring writer to have ever lived.
At nine years old, I struggled for six months to wade through The Lord of the Rings. So, at that time, I probably would’ve agreed with those of you who say that it’s too boring, too long, and you’d rather just watch the movie.
I would’ve rather watched the movie as well. It was the bitter disappointment of being told that I was not allowed that provided the impetus behind my reading it in the first place.
All these years later, I have read The Lord of the Rings over and over again and it has never been a waste of my time.
It is a truly beautiful book. Action, emotion, beauty, romance, history – it’s all there.
1. Till We Have Faces
I am not actually a fan of C. S. Lewis.
Now those of you who grew up reading The Chronicles of Narnia are disgusted with me.
And those of you who think he’s the boring author of books expounding upon Christianity are beginning to think my opinion might be valid.
Not to mention that it is currently my favorite book.
Till We Have Faces is unlike anything else C. S. Lewis ever wrote. Obviously every author has a particular voice and there are moments that are clearly recognizable as classic Lewis.
But this is not a kid’s book. And certainly not nonfiction.
It’s actually a retelling. Of a Greek myth.
Pysche and Cupid, to be exact.
It would be better if you experienced for yourself, so I won’t say anything to try and convince you.
Discover it for yourself. Tell me what you think.
What is your favorite book? Have you read any of the books on this list? What did you think of them? Do you ever read kid’s books? Do you ever read books that are intended for an audience that you are not apart of?